Monday, March 3, 2014
Why do Apple and Google and Microsoft want to be in the car?
Do I want to integrate my phone or tablet more closely everywhere I go?
When I switched from my 1999 VW Golf GLS to the 2012 VW Golf TDI, the car wanted to know about my phone. My mobile sound system can route calls and play my music. In fact, it's not just the music on the phone, but iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Spotify that can be used.
Apple announced today, for the Geneva, Switzerland auto show that they were pairing with several car makers to extend their reach past simple integration for playing music.
Chevrolet had already announced Siri in the car, and Google and Audi recently announced Android in the car. Ford had Windows in use for a while, but they seem to be moving away from that. Were software crashes causing traffic accidents? No, of course not but people made jokes.
Using my car's touch screen for various controls isn't very efficient. If I don't remember something, I can go back and forth too many times trying to find some setting. I wish the car makers and sound system makers such as Alpine, Kenwood, and Pioneer would come up with a unified graphical interface and let everyone plug into the back end. That way, if you're in your car, a rental car, your friend's car, you know how things work.
I had a terrible time when I changed phones and it's not really resolved as much as I'm using a workaround. I went from an iPhone 4s to an iPhone 5c. iTunes let me use the previous configuration and name. The car didn't like that but it wouldn't let me delete the name, either, so that I could re-use it. So, after 10-15 attempts, I deleted a few characters and it works--most of the time.
Of course, the cable (30-pin still, but the new phone has the Lightning connector now) is a problem but that was a problem last year anyway since the tiny space for the phone is cold as ice in the winter, and that's not good for the phone.
In any case, I think it'll be more than five years before the dust has settled. It took a couple of years to get the iPhone connected to cars but many companies have the option now. Getting an Android option shouldn't be difficult but it probably is at this point. Collaboration--the world needs more of it.